Thursday, January 31, 2008

Want A Good Night's Sleep? Just Say No To Cell Phone Use Before Bed

Cell phones have become a huge part of our lives. In fact, most of us wonder how we ever managed to survive without them in the past. I know I do. I remember, prior to cell phones, trying desperately to find a working pay phone, in questionable areas, often with little success.

People carry them everywhere, talk on them everywhere, including places they shouldn't, like public restrooms and theatres. Thank you very much, but I don't want to hear you doing your "business" while chatting with me on the phone, and as an actress, holding a conversation while I'm performing is distracting and downright rude. There are even those who have totally replaced their landlines with a cell phone. What's next? Surgically implanted handsets? Frankly, I prefer the quality of the landline, but admittedly the cell phone is incredibly handy and I'd be lost without mine. However, with all our cell phone usage, we still have no clue about the long term health hazards of extensive use.

We know the obvious- that they can be distracting and dangerous while driving, but who would have thought that using your cell phone at least an hour before bedtime could cause insomnia? According to various studies, including one at Wayne State University, Michigan and others at the Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of Zurich, the radiation and electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones can alter brain waves and cause major sleep disturbances:

The results showed that using the handsets before bed causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them.

And considering that sleep is how our tired bodies and minds are restored:

Failing to get enough sleep can lead to depression, lack of concentration and personality changes. In teenagers and young children, lack of sleep can result in attention disorders and poor academic performance.

making sure you stop your chatter on cell phones before bed time, just makes sense.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Keys to happiness- Henry Van Dyke quote

"Time is: too slow for those who wait, too swift for
those who fear."

Henry van Dyke

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Sage Use Of Sage

A while back, while battling brain-fog doing a show out-of-town, I did some research and wrote a post about memory and brain food. I was desperate, considering the rehearsal period was only a week and I was unable to focus properly. But some of the information I gathered was very helpful, and I managed to get through the whole process relatively unscathed.

One commonly recommended herb for memory troubles was sage (and rosemary). So, I immediately purchased both, in bulk, and sprinkled them on my food, and added them to herbal tea. It seemed to be of great help.

I knew sage was useful for increasing memory-power, but I had no idea that it was also good for other troubles. According to Mark Blumenthal, associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Texas :

"It's been used to treat digestive upsets, joint pain and snake bites. But only now is research confirming that this anti-oxidant-rich spice can help treat a long list of common health problems."

1. Memory Aid- A recent British study found that even a single dose of sage can instantly help people with memory skills (including recalling names, places etc. 11 times more accurately), and the affects can last up to 2 hours. Some European research has found it could possibly aid with age-related memory loss, if taken on a daily basis.

2. Night Sweats and Hot Flash Controller- Going through peri-menopause? Apparently sage helps cut night sweats and hot flashes by up to 50%. Women participating in a study found that they felt substantially cooler within 2 hours after taking Sage, and that they only needed to take it every other day for the effects to last. Sage contains an oil called thujone, which helps the brain maintain proper thermostat control.

3. Bacteria and Bug Killer- Apparently, the rosmarinic acid in sage, in addition to being a powerful anti-oxidant, also has antiseptic and antibiotic properties which have the capacity to kill 65 different strains of bugs, from bacteria to viruses, including the bacteria and yeast that contribute to digestive troubles. It can even kill salmonella,, E. Coli and the fungus that is responsible for causing yeast infections. Dutch researchers were able to destroy up to 70% of the staphylococcus bacteria. And all this without destroying the good bacteria in the stomach, like antibiotics do.

Ways To Use:

You can sprinkle it on food, make a tea infusion or buy a liquid supplement.

They say 1 tsp a day on your food, is good.

Or you can drink one to 3 cups of sage tea a day. I use a tea infuser, and add it to my herbal tea. I drink it twice a day. Make sure it's whole dried sage.

Or you can buy a liquid extract at the health food store. Recommended dosage is 28 drops in a glass of water, and drink 1 to 3 times a day.

as always, please research before you start taking any herbal remedy.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Keys to happiness- Thomas Jefferson Quote

"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits."

Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Arnica or Advil?

According to a Swiss research study of 204 people with osteoarthritis in the fingers, Arnica gel was just as effective at relieving the painful, inflamed and swollen joints as 5 percent Ibuprofen (the ingredient in Advil) gel!

Arnica belongs to the sunflower family, and has been used for centuries to relieve bruises, sore muscles and stiffness. It is usually used in the form of a gel or salve, but can be used in tablet form as a homeopathic remedy.
So, if you have a choice between Ibuprofen and a natural remedy, which would you choose? I know what my choice would be.
As with anything herbal, if ingested, please research before you decide to try it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Carrots- Cooked Or Raw, Which Is Better?

A major misconception is that all veggies are far more nutritious when eaten raw, but that isn't necessarily so, at least for some veggies. One such veggie is the lovely carrot. Personally, I prefer raw carrots. I love the crunchiness, and there's nothing like a frothy glass of fresh carrot carrot juice.

But, thankfully, I don't have to forgo the juicing to get the full benefits of the beta-carotene, that the carrot is so famous for. But carrots do release more of that beta-carotene and other phenolic compounds when they are cooked rather than eaten raw. So if you want to take advantage of all those antioxidants, you should opt for cooking those carrots a little.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 to 2008- And Nothing Has Changed

So, another turbulent and tragedy-filled year has passed: from multiple school massacres to massive arson-induced fires in this country, and an assassination, violence and riots around the rest of the world. And though January 1st is really just another day, it's symbolic of many things to many people. An opportunity to implement change, make resolutions. Out with the old, in with the new. When I lived in Quito, Ecuador, on New Year's eve they would have huge street parties where effigies representing the old year were burned. A purging of the old to make way for the new, so to speak.

One always harbours the hope that, with the advent of a new year, things might somehow miraculously change, that people might aspire to reach for the light rather than cling to the darkness, but our sad little world still remains an irreparable mess. 2008 was greeted not with hope and goodwill, but more death and destruction. Further violence erupted in Kenya, where a mob set fire to a church, on Tuesday, killing at least 50 people. In Baghdad, a suicide bomber murdered 30 people when he blew himself up inside the home of people mourning a man who 3 days earlier, had been killed by a car bomb. Imagine targeting a group of people already mourning a death. How despicable and evil is that?!

I'm not sure what the rest of the year will bring, but if the first few days is any indication, it does not bode well. Keep those prayers going, because we're going to need it. We're in for a rocky road ahead.